Evidence 101

EVIDENCE 101...Wherever you go, there you are...

Friday, September 26, 2014

Hop Scotch

One of my favorite cartoons of late comes from artist, Tim Whyatt. It  is so telling of some supervisors. It brings me back to a Throwback Thursday moment.

I will give him a little unsolicited plug. I have not yet read this book, but I have it on my wish list. 

 He is one of the most viral cartoonists. Contagious, you say? Yes, sort of. No, he does not have a virus, but his work gets forwarded, passed around, shared, and raved about on the Internet faster than Obama changes his entourage.
Photo credit: Tim Whyatt (Pinterest)

So here goes the event...TBT...on Friday. So, I'm late. Shut it.

When you deal with crazy people on a daily basis as a police officer, you get to  know some of them very well. At times they can carry on a normal conversation. When they stop taking their meds and go down the slippery slope to the world beyond sane, the police get called.

Last night, we received a call of distress that a well-known schizophrenic had barricaded himself in his home and created a gas leak from his kitchen stove. Enter the police, fire, gas company. The gas was shut off. Police evacuated the area. The hostage negotiators set up camp outside his residence about 200 feet. That's where I was manning the post with The English and Sgt. Nightshift.

David was about 38 years old, 6-4, and over 300 pounds. Highly intelligent as many schizophrenics are...he was exceptional. College, military. His grandfather had won the Nobel Peace prize in 1988 or something like that. The last episode with David had landed him in the state mental hospital which takes an act of Congress to get someone in there anymore. Congress acted. David entered. He was released in May of 2010. The gig that sent him to the funny farm happened last December when he kidnapped a woman claiming he was saving her from rapists and shot off rounds in the parking lot of his apartment complex. It was a disaster that ended with all going home safe. David was sentenced to the funny farm. In August, he again went off his meds...and last night...well, the way to describe it was to name it OPERATION GOAT SCREW.

Officers could see inside where David had barricaded the front door with a sofa. He was sitting in the middle of the living room talking non-stop to himself. He wouldn't answer his phone. He turned up his stereo. He was in his own world of non-sense. His hair was in disarray, he hadn't shaved in months. He had two knives and unknown firearms, if any.

Usually on calls to David's home, myself and Officer Punky Brewster responded. He likes her. He likes women. We can calm him down. Last night...he was not responding to anyone.

The English and I were assigned the negotiations. It was a cold, brisk night...temps in the early 30s. No wind. Still air. Very dark, black night. One of those nights I had opted not to wear my long underwear. Nuts. I resorted to dancing in place, pacing in small circles, and moving around. I did have my winter coat, but the night air whistled right through my britches. The English soon followed suit as he had the same dilemma.

After over 100 calls into David...he still did not respond to the ringing phone. We had been there two hours by then after evacuating residents, shutting off the gas, and setting up a perimeter. Then the dreaded radio traffic...

Apparently, Lieutenant Metrosexual had gone home early for the night and our watch commander had shifted to Lieutenant Ratchet Liability. It was a slow motion simultaneous..."NNNNOOOOOOOO!"..sounding out in the darkness. Fuck me in the ass. The English and I knew exactly what to expect. Chaos. A goat screw. Tactics against protocol. Hold onto our pants...it was about to happen.

Ratchet was old school. Late 50's. Tall. Thinks he's invincible because he used to be a one man operation in Nebraska for years before coming to our department.Never has worn armor.  He was going on his 29th year of service with our department. He was my first sergeant. In those sergeant days, he was known as abrasive, but I got along with him fine and he was great to work under. As a lieutenant, he tried too hard and I think he was feeling the wares of old. He ran Investigations and was the demise to the turmoil that went on upstairs several times. Now, mind you, he still had a heart of gold. It was a contradictions of terms, Batman, but you must have known him to understand him. We loved him on days and on others...well, this was an other...

He showed up in plain clothes...hollered out something about guns about 50 feet from David's whereabouts and trampled through the crunchy leaves to a window where he peeked inside. Oy.

THE ENGLISH: Oh. No. I can see the writing on the wall.

ME: Yep. He's going to go through that window in plain clothes. No protection...grab David by the ear and try to drag him out.


PUNKY: [High pitched angry voice in all of 4-2 of her glory and height] He can't do that! It's against protocol and safety! David will pummel  his ass!

She was very excited about this...and disturbed...and distraught. It did not phase The English and I because we knew exactly what was going to happen and there wasn't a damn thing we could do about it.

ME: Yep.

THE ENGLISH: Yep. This is pure entertainment. Can't wait until we have to clean up this mess.


RENOST: Lt., his name is David.

*head hits hood of car*


ME: There goes the window.


PUNKY: [really excited, pacing] No. No. Someone tell him to stop. He can't do that. David is dangerous.

ME: Oh, you haven't worked with Ratchet yet.

THE ENGLISH: We're used to this.

So Ratchet broke the window, yelled at David. David got mad and started moving around the house near his knives, flicked the porch light on and off. Ratchet started to enter the window, but stated the shards of glass would cut his guts open. So he started to remove the shards.

Sgt. Nightshift brought the ram and shield. He and the Sarg (my swing shift sergeant) along with a team of 8 moved to the front door. Nightshift rammed the door, shoving the couch over which had held the barricade. At the same time, Sarg broke another window to distract David. David rushed to slam the door shut in Nightshift's face. Nightshift took the door off its hinges in about 2.5 seconds. Troops pulled furniture and items out of the way of the entry and Tasers went flying. It was like confetti...only electrifying.

Miss. Miss. Hit. Rookie Ranger Danger hit the Sarg and the wall with his marksmanship. Officer Renost's Taser shot hit, but it didn't penetrate David's thick coat. Officer Homer Simpson hit right on. It was ineffective. Epic Taser fail. (Always with the big guys...failure...which is common dealing with very  high or very crazy people)

The fight was on.

David was captured.

DAVID: I like that Taser action. I have a government passport. CIA. FBI. Secure the residence.

RATCHET: You like that Taser, huh? You're OK, David. You're OK. We're going to take you to the hospital.

He, David,  talked nonsense all the way to the hospital...non-stop. About books, art, computers, the government, transmitters...you  name it.

I  met Officer Punky Brewster at the hospital. Because David was such a handful, we had 5 cops and 2 hospital security guards. David stood in the doorway of the rubber room...tense, upset, clenching his hands. He talked non-stop...non-sense. Didn't respond to questions. Didn't respond to the hospital staff or police. Would not let a nurse near him. Just kept on going...like the Energizer Bunny...only crazier.

After 1 hour of his rambling....I set up directly in front of him and watched him. Sometimes I smiled at him. I didn't ask him anything. I didn't interject.

OFFICER SMOKESTACK: 96, just smile and nod. Smile and nod.

I smiled over at Smokestack in agreement.

Another 30 minutes went by and David seemed to relax a little, but still talked non-stop. Hospital wouldn't touch him because he kept fighting them and he was too dangerous.

Punky Brewster was writing up the involuntary hospitalization form. David started rambling off his poetry. Being highly intelligent...he was quite good. I looked down at the ground and zoned out for awhile...trying to focus away from David's noise. His poetry went on and on about government conspiracies, books, art, and life all mixed in. It rhymed. It was funny. Then...he interjected his current thoughts...

DAVID: As the Missus looks down....calmly at the ground...she wonders where she has found...such a crazy man with a heart of gold and looking a little dirty. Dear Missus...blond fair lady....I really think you are pretty.

I laughed. Officer Punky Brewster laughed. Punky was usually his choice of Missus. Somehow he had focused on me.

ME: Thank you, David.

David's eyes lit up and he smiled.

PUNKY BREWSTER: [announcing to the ER staff and cops] Hey, everyone! David thinks she's pretty!

Doh! Time to beat the Punkmeister. Only in jest, only in jest.

ME: Thanks, Punky. You are so helpful.

PUNKY BREWSTER: [big cheesy smile]

DAVID: You are beautiful  lady.

ME: Thank you, David. Are you feeling better?

DAVID: Yes. You helped me.  Now, I have grown very fond of this electric slinky attached to me.

ME: [laughing] I like that. You are very clever, David.  Can I use that term sometime?

DAVID: [big smile] Sure. Use it. I like that you call me David instead of Mister.

ME: You crack me up David.

DAVID: You make me calm and happy. Thank you. You are pretty.

OFFICER SMOKESTACK: You could ask her out on a date. She's recently single.

ME: Shut it.

So Lepreshawn, Granger Danger, Brewster, and Smokestack made fun of me and my new found friend. I was red in the face from the pressure.

DAVID: Thank you for liking my poetry and my slinky terminology. I can't feel these things. [looks down at probes] I'm OK. These bracelets are tight.

ME: Oh, the Taser probes. Can I remove those for you?

DAVID: Sure.

Panic struck the male officers as I approached David. I pulled out two Taser probes and put them in a sharp's container. He wanted to hang onto the wire....the slinky part. I told him that was not a good idea. He refused to let us pull the probes out earlier and it wasn't worth the fight, so we had left them.

DAVID: Help my hands. They hurt.

ME: I will loosen the cuffs up for you.

DAVID: Thank you. They keep clamping down.

ME: Probably didn't get double locked in the fury.

Smokestack came over to aid in taking David to the ground in anticipation he would be escaping custody. I waved him off.

ME: David. I know you won't hurt me. When I loosen these, you need to remain still so I can adjust them, OK?

DAVID: Ok, fair lady. Thank you.

And with that, I adjusted the handcuffs. It was like "Beauty" and " The Beast", only different. No happy love story ending. At least not for me. I felt sorry for David. To be trapped in his mind must be a daily struggle. Sad thing was...he was brilliant and very computer savvy.

David didn't move. Later, Smokestack, Punky, and myself helped seat David so he could be injected with Vitamin H. He finally did comply and started to make more sense. I saw my chance to exit as my shift was ending.

ME: David, I have to go. Officer Punky Brewster will take care of you and these other fine officers. Get to feeling better, OK?

DAVID: Ok. Thank you. I love you.

ME: I love you, too, David.

LEPRESHAWN, SMOKESTACK:  [breaking out in song] Is it  love... that I'm feeling....

ME: Shut it.

Cops are so funny. Gah!

And so David went to the mental ward...where they will probably medicate him for 3 days...get his meds regulated...release him...and he will go off his meds again. And we will meet again.  Sad case of truth. It happens on every goat screw incident with the insane. Unfortunately, they can't get the help they really need. Sad sorts.


Rocky Mountain Woman said...

You are certainly brave. For a while I worked near a park where the homeless gathered. One night I was working late and when getting ready to leave realized there was a guy sitting on the tail gate of my truck, drinking beer. Heart racing I started toward the truck with my keys in hand and when he saw me, he said "Nice truck, lady. Thanks for letting me sit on it for a while."

I felt so bad for him because you could see there was a person in there, somewhere under the dirty clothes. A few days later we had a woman who wouldn't leave the reception area and had to call the police. I asked them about the guy that was sitting on the truck and they said he was over in the park they had just seen him, that he never caused them trouble, just liked to hang out.

I'll never forget how sad his eyes were... I love your stories...

GunDiva said...

I have an odd affection for David. I can't imagine being that intelligent and trapped by mental illness.